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Erosion Control

Plants that root on slopes can absorb wind and water that erode topsoil.

When selecting plants for erosion control or slope stabilization be sure to consider soil depth and drainage. Areas where erosion control is an issue, soil is usually lacking microorganisms and nutrients or suffering from compaction. Applying compost as mulch can be used as an erosion control material that also enhances soil.

When tilled into the surface, compost modifies the physical soil properties, improving water-holding ability and resistance to compaction. The microorganisms in compost aid in the formation of soil aggregates, the building blocks of good soil structure. Spaces in the aggregates allow water to percolate the soil and air to reach plant roots. When soil particles aggregate together, they are less likely to erode during rainstorms.

In clay soils, compost reduces the bulk density and increases the porosity, thus improving the exchange of air and water through the soil. In sandy soils, compost increases the water-holding capacity and soil aggregation.

  • If you cannot amend the soil of the entire slope, amend it a hole at a time.
  • Fast growing species that have spreading root systems will “hold” the soil in place quicker.

Ornamental grasses offer a variety of design ideas and options to planting a slope. Recommended ground covers for erosion control includes: Ajuga (sun & shade), Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Sun or light shade), Chrysogonum virginianum (light shade), Convallari majallisa (shade), Dianthus gratianopolitanus (sun), Dryopteris erythrosora (Part sun to full shade), Epimedium (Sun or light shade), Euonymus (sun & shade), Hedera (sun & shade), Hypericum (sun or light shade), Lamiastrum (sun & shade), Lantana (sun), Liriope muscari (sun & shade), Liriope spicata (sun & shade), Mazus (sun), Ophipogon japonicus (sun & shade), Pachysandra (shade), Phlox subulata (sun), Rubus (sun), Santolina chamaecyparissus (sun), Trachelospermum jasminoides (sun & shade), Vinca major (sun & shade):

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